Archive of films Le grand cahier / A nagy füzet

Hungary / Germany / Austria / France
2013, 100 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2013

A fascinating and hard-hitting adaptation of the controversial first novel by Hungarian writer Agota Kristof about 13-year-old twins forced to spend the last years of the Second World War with their cruel grandmother somewhere near the Hungarian border. The term bewitching was never so apt as in the case of this new film by renowned filmmaker and theatre director János Szász.


A soldier father guides his family with a firm but understanding hand. He gives his two 13-year-old sons a notebook in which they are to write down their everyday experiences. It’s the Second World War, the family is broken up, and the boys are taken to their grandmother’s village to take shelter in her house. But the old woman would rather nurse a bottle of booze than care for her own flesh and blood. Thus instead of finding a safe refuge, the brothers fully experience the cruelty of war and the utter absence of love. Nothing good can come of the situation, and the bitter reality is reflected in their matter-of-fact, emotion-deprived entries in the notebook. The picture graphically portrays the war through the eyes of children – but differently than we’re used to in such cases. Wholly unidyllic, the film takes a brutal look at the loss of illusions and the forced transformation of the protagonists into adults (or whatever the war makes of them). Moreover, the cruelty the brothers learned out of necessity extends beyond the end of the conflict, and thus we may perceive the film as a broader social critique. This elegiac motion picture benefits from Christian Berger’s dazzling camerawork.

About the director

János Szász (b. 1958, Budapest) is a leading Hungarian script writer and director of stage and screen. He graduated in theater direction from the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest. His theater stagings in Hungary and abroad (USA, Norway) include plays by Henrik Ibsen, Carlo Gozzi, and Tennessee Williams. For his screen adaptation of Büchner’s Woyzeck (1994) he won the European Film Award for Best New European Film, and the movie represented Hungary at the Academy Awards. Soon afterward, The Witman Boys (1996) premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes IFF. His next film Opium: Diary of a Madwoman (2007) made the rounds of numerous festivals. His documentary Eyes of the Holocaust (2000) was produced by Steven Spielberg for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Le grand cahier is his first film to compete at Karlovy Vary.


Beta Cinema GmbH
Grünwalder Weg 28d, 820 41, Oberhaching/Munich
Tel: +49 896 734 698 828
Fax: +49 896 734 698 88

About the film

Color, DCP
World premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: János Szász
Screenplay: András Szekér, János Szász podle románu / based on the novel by Agota Kristof
Dir. of Photography: Christian Berger
Music: Johan Johanson
Editor: Szilvia Ruszev
Producer: Sándor Sőth, Sándor Pál
Production: Intuit Pictures GmbH, Hunnia Filmstúdio
Cast: András Gyémánt, László Gyémánt, Piroska Molnár, Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Matthes
Contact: Beta Cinema GmbH


János Szász

Film Director

Katalin Vajda

Film Institution Rep.

Sandor Söth


Szilvia Ruszev

Film Editor

Piroska Molnár


András Gyémánt


László Gyémánt


Tassilo Hallbauer

Sales Agent

Jan Hasenfuss

Film Crew

Romy Brauer

Film Crew

Linda Dombrovszky

Film Director

Csaba Bereczki

Film Institution Rep.

Agnes Havas

Film Institution Rep.

Csaba Papp

Film Institution Rep., PR & Marketing

Andrew G Vajna

Film Institution Rep.

Julien Baillod


Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu



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